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No. 2348
I promise my /afanfic/ stuff will get updated soon but I had to get this one-shot out of my system. I wrote this in like... maybe an hour total. Not claiming it's a literary gem, but I think it's what I was trying to write.


-------------------


I was watching when you arrived.

You were constantly on edge, eyes darting around and shaking slightly as you entered your new base. I could see nothing in you that I knew the people who hired us to fight here usually looked for - least of all, I would have expected them to hire you as a Spy. You had nothing of the confidence and poise a good Spy requires.

You interacted with your teammates like you had no common ground with any of them. All you did was form first impressions and then cling to them like a child to their parent: you never tried to look past what you'd seen at the initial moment, and as a result you never really started to integrate with the team. Mostly, you were left to your own devices. I knew this was a bad sign. Out here, we work as a team or we die alone. Even I knew that, and my devotion to my comrades was reasonably suspect, though not to the extent where they would have openly accused me of anything.

The day you arrived marked the weekend and a two-day pause in fighting. I gave you three days to live.

-------------------

The first time we met wasn't on the battlefield.

I'd been watching you there, yes, but I'd never let myself be found by you. You were utterly hapless, bumbling about the battlefield like a child. If it wasn't for the disguise kit and the cloak - I've never seen someone flicker in and out of sight so many times within one day - you would certainly have been killed. Then again, you had been recruited as a Spy, and it was almost in the job description that Spies need the Devil's luck to survive in their chosen career. That was my first hunch that perhaps they were not fools in the other company after all. Maybe a Spy could be constructed out of the raw materials you provided.

I took it upon myself to be the engineer (pardon the pun) of your construction. Despite being on opposing teams and near polar opposites as far as I could tell, I felt a certain pity for you. Now that I look back at it, I think it may also have been a level of kinship, but I cannot say for sure. You were, after all, rather pathetic - I cannot see why I would have associated you with myself, or vice versa.

Perhaps it was another hunch.

You were afraid of me at first, or perhaps confused by the fact I hadn't outright killed you. It took you a while to grow accustomed to my presence, then a while longer as you came to terms with the fact I wasn't posing a threat to you. You'd been taught that anyone wearing my team's colors was your enemy, and at least I found you were a good student, for it took you quite some time to rid yourself of this mindset. Eventually, you seemed to grasp the idea that we were all just men here, not dedicated enemies like black and white chess pieces capturing one another. Gradually, you opened up to me. I asked you once if you trusted me, and you said no. I told you that was a good thing, and you gave me the strangest look. If you hadn't done that, I would never have realized you were lying.

That should have been my third hunch.

-------------------

I started to teach you.

My first lessons to you were carefully lampshaded, more casual jabs in conversation than proper lectures: eventually, I began to use a more hands-on approach, commenting on the way you held your balisong and giving you lessons on better aim with the revolver. You learned these technical things at a disappointingly average pace. I had hoped for something extraordinary from you, and so far, you were not delivering.

When I started on the more esoteric portions of what you should already have known when you came here, you finally started to show promise. After all, some things are difficult to teach. I would never have taken you for such a brilliant liar, for instance - it came to you naturally, even accounting for the possibility your falselihoods were hidden by the fact you seemed skittish and unsure of your words even when you spoke nothing but the truth. Still, I was pleased to see you shatter my initial expectations of you. Perhaps those who hired you knew what they were doing after all.

For the longest time, your lies remained white: small fibs to disguise uncomfortable truths, including the fact I was mentoring you in between battles and sometimes even on the field. Gradually, you learned to use your clever little words as a sword as well as a shield. Combined with disguises and the cloaking device, you started to learn how unsuspecting men could be hoodwinked into believing all sorts of things. I patted your shoulder and told you you would go far. You looked skeptical, but thanked me nonetheless.

The first time I saw you trick our Pyro into not spychecking and most likely killing you, I felt nothing but pride.

-------------------

Eventually, the time comes when a student must show their master their progress. The time had come for you to make your first kill.

I had to pick your targets at first, just to guide your hand: you failed spectacularly at first, but I was patient, knowing now that there was something worth salvaging inside the wreck you were. Every time you were forced to flee from a target you had hoped to exterminate you ran back to me with your tail between your skinny legs, and I had to coax you back into confidence so you could go back and try again. Fortunately, years of standing in the shadows waiting for the right moment has given me near endless patience. The time was right, I was sure of it. Your success was in your own hands now.

It happened near the end of a day's battle. Over the radio my team uses to communicate, I heard a strangled cry and a thump. A few seconds later, the rest of the team was calling for our Sniper and receiving no response. Everyone seemed horribly surprised: they'd nearly forgotten the other team had a Spy since you were such a hopeless one. When the nightly truce was called, we gathered together as always, but the discussion that evening was something we hadn't had for a long time. We discussed the enemy Spy.

I saw you again that night: we met in your quarters as usual, the habit having developed out of your solitary behavior. No one came to the door save sometimes your Scout, and he was always loud enough in the hallway to give me time to cloak or escape. There was something different in the room today, though. Nothing had changed physically - I remember the placement of every item in your quarters now, I've been there so frequently - but something had changed on the mental level. Something in your eyes now made me uneasy.

You told me you wanted to pick your targets on your own from now on. I nodded without hesitation, but my mind kept screaming that something was wrong. I did something I never do and chose to ignore my insticts. I asked you who your next target would be, so I could keep an eye on your progress.

You gave me the strangest smirk and told me it might be me.

-------------------

Unease was my constant companion in the days and eventually weeks that followed.

My team received a new Sniper soon enough: HQ never seemed to have a shortage of thin-as-reeds men of Australian descent with steady hands, the eyes of an eagle and hygienic habits straight from the Middle Ages. Though he stood as still as his predecessor in his perch, I guessed you would not be choosing him as your next target. Freshly confident from your first kill, you would choose something more demanding.

When I found you trying to sneak up on our Pyro disguised as a Medic, I knew at once you'd bitten off too much - if I didn't intervene, you'd be gagging on the business end of a flamethrower soon enough. Cloaking, I slid into the tunnel and past my comrade to stand in front of you. Your bulk pressed into my invisible form and at first your features reflected confusion. A split second later, rage appeared on the face you were wearing, and you slid into the same transparent state I was hiding beneath.

The last thing I saw before you disappeared were your eyes. They were filled with rage and... something else. Back then, I could not put a name on that something. I do not know if I still could.

I have a good guess, though.

-------------------

You avoided me after that.

We no longer met in your quarters: my customary entrance points into your fort were sealed off in various ways, and I could no longer reach you even if you had wanted me to. When I saw you on the battlefield, your eyes were distant, sometimes locking onto me for a split second when you recognized my presence but never lingering. You did not kill again, and this made me nervous. I could, with some difficulty, recall the rush of my own first kill and the frustration I felt between it and the next. I could not understand how you, of all people, could live with that frustration.

Your team's efforts began to gradually improve: eventually, I figured out it was because you were now communicating with them. Their efforts were far more coordinated, and my own teammates began to wonder how they were doing it. I knew, of course. You were sneaking behind the lines now, whispering news to the others of where we were regrouping and where our attacks would come from. Wherever we went, we found ourselves anticipated and overcome. For the first time in longer than I could clearly remember, your Scout returned to your base with a case of intelligence.

I managed to find a new entryway into your base that night. Creeping through the ventilation shafts, I found a place to observe your common room from. The celebrations your brothers in arms were throwing were not dissimilar to the ones my team had once held: winning was more routine than anything to us now, so we no longer bothered, but once the alcohol had flowed and the raucous cheers had rung out. Everything I saw in the scene before me was the way I had expected it to be - save for you. You sat there, next to that accursed Scout, muttering something to the boy with a grin on your face that could just as well have been on mine. Those around you gave you looks of nothing but approval and, to my shock, admiration. My feelings and thoughts were a maelstrom as I returned to my own defeated team.

From being their outcast, you had turned into their leader.

-------------------

I did not know I was leaving your base for the last time.

The irony in all of this is substantial. When you came here, you were nothing. My team hadn't even noticed your presence until that first kill I guided you to. Today, there has been a horrible suspense over the field. All day my stomach has been churning, warning me of what was to come. The hunches and the instincts had been right and I had ignored them. Now, it was far too late to start listening to them again.

It has been perhaps fifteen minutes since the first death scream echoed over the radio waves. Ever since then, my teammates have been in sheer panic, all wild-eyed and paranoid as they search for invisible enemies and strike their own allies in a frantic search for impostors that will turn upon them once their backs are turned. There is talk of cheating - that your team has hired more than one Spy, which is against the rules of this orchestrated battle we pirouette through. Indeed, they believe there is an army of Spies, cloaked and disguised, coming for them, for another one of them dies every few minutes and they do not know how to stop them.

Not a single one of them knows it is really only you.

Our Scout cries out that the fuckers are making him dance. I hear gunshots not far away and know it is your revolver. He screams once more and then there is complete silence - he was the last one of my teammates to live. That was when I realized what you are doing. You are not coming for me. You are waiting for me to drift into your sights so you can pull the trigger.

I know I cannot hide forever: we are both Spies, after all, and you think like one now as well as I do. We both know the hiding places in these territories, and I fear you may now know them better than I do, for I could never have pulled off what you did. I am proud of you, in a sense: the student has far surpassed the master. Still, my pride is tainted with a sickly stench. That stench is the reek of fear of death.

All of this battle has been nothing but a scene, an elaborate backdrop for my own death.

I stumble over the corpse of our Soldier in my growing panic - there is a bullet hole perfectly in between his eyes, and this adds fuel to the flames of my growing horror - and know at once that you will find me now. His body is still warm as I use it to help pull myself upright again. I glance down at my watch and I know the cloak will not get me out of the tunnel I have blindly charged into. Disguises are useless at this point: for a moment I entertain the idea of disguising as one of my own team to throw you off, but I discard the thought as quickly as it had arrived. For the first time in my life, I feel desperation.

Against my better judgement, I make a run for it. A gunshot rings through the air and I can feel my left kneecap shatter. A scream of agony spills from my mouth and echoes against the warm hues of the stone around me. It is pain like I have never felt before: I've received injuries like this before, but now I know there will be no salvation and no healing. I have forgotten that my mission is to support my team and now they fail to support me, for they are dead and I will soon join their ranks.

Out of sheer force of habit, I try to staunch the flow of blood spilling at a dreadful pace from my leg. The sound of footsteps approaching is now negligible. It would not be anyone else on your team, for you would want to take my life with your own hands. I am proven correct when you uncloak, the soft whisper of the invisibility slipping away so dreadfully familiar it sends shivers down my spine. You are nearly standing over me, your balaclava held in one hand and your revolver in the other. There is no way for me to know it, but I know you are aiming between my eyes. Your own are filled with fire and lightning and you are no longer the helpless weakling I saw arrive what now seems like an eternity ago. I wait for the shot and it does not come. At once, I know what you expect of me and my stomach drops at the cruelty of it. Still, it is my only option. All my life I have been the hunter. Now, I must become the hunted.

I roll onto my stomach and start crawling towards the light.
Marked for deletion (old)
>> No. 2372
I love this and I love you

This just made my night
>> No. 2373
This is fantastic writing. I love the POV, and the character interaction is riveting. Intense stuff!
>> No. 2374
holy shit a songfic that's written well

it's like a mythical beast showing up in your bathroom
>> No. 2376
This is songfic?

My mind is blown.
>> No. 2377
>>5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x52sA9IpiAU
>> No. 2378
>>6
YESSS OWL I LOVE YOU

actually almost everything I write is a songfic

but subtly

also which mythical beast are we talking like unicorns here or what
>> No. 2379
maybe a wyvern
>> No. 2380
>>6

FFFFFFFUUU.... I am impressed on an whole new level, now.
>> No. 2381
>>8
SWEET

Also I think this fic reveals quite well how bad my taste in music is. PROTIP: Hunter's Kiss is also a subtle songfic, go figure it out
>> No. 2382
( -_-), whatever it is i don't think i know it, please reveal your secret
>> No. 2384
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWq5s5Prcow

Ignore the damn animu video, this is the only video I can find that isn't a live performance

This is why I shouldn't listen to music while cleaning my room or sitting in a train
>> No. 2385
>>12

Holy shit no way. I love Rasputina, I love your fics, and I love you.
>> No. 2424
Wow, this is really well written. I had never really listened to those lyrics very much before, but it's really awesome how they link so closely with the Spy. = ) Great job on this.
>> No. 2453
>>6
>"clever alibis, lord of the flies"WTF?

Other then that, awesome!
>> No. 2474
>>15
I have no idea what that line is going on about, either.

I'm surprised at the reception this is getting. I was expecting to get banhammered once it's revealed that this is a songfic, tbh. Guess I just narrowly managed to pull it off.


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